After my monumental Game of the Year Awards, and unprecedented Game of the Decade Awards, it was time of course for the Game of the Month Awards, and I've been working towards this lofty goal for a long time now: ever since unveiling Insomnia's unique and absurdly detailed frontpage release schedules a couple of years ago in fact. If the GOTY Awards require deep insight, and the GOTD Awards nothing less than sheer genius, the GOTM Awards require sheer grind: non-stop hard work week in-week out, month in-month out, year in and year out; because there is no other way to arrive at a fair winner for every month unless you have covered every month's releases exhaustively, and that's why no one does this sort of thing anymore, as the old mags used to do in the old days. But I grew up on those mags, and still remember how cool their monthly awards were, so I've long meant to bring them back with a vengeance, harnessing the power of the internet to deliver a level of comprehensiveness that back then no one could even dream of. Because of course those mags missed a lot of releases: Japanese ones if we're talking Western mags, and Western ones if we're talking Japanese mags. Not to mention many of the mags were format-specific, so their awards often meant little if anything for people who owned more than one system. So if you e.g. read Computer Gaming World, their awards would apply to Western computer games specifically, and so on. If a Japanese console or arcade game came out, or a Japanese computer game (most of which were never exported) and demolished whatever CGW's monthly pick may have been (I don't even remember if CGW did monthly picks, but bear with me anyway), CGW's readers would never know about it unless they also read another magazine that covered that game. But perhaps the other magazine would never cover CGW's game, so the two games would never be pitted against each other, at least not by a professional critic. It's so stupid to divide videogame coverage by format, isn't it? It's like a film magazine saying, "We only review DVDs. If your film is TV-only, or cinema-only, or VHS-only, tough luck." I mean you don't need me to write an essay explaining this further, do you? It's fucking retarded, and that's why I think you will find a certain level of retardation in all format-specific mags and sites and communities. They DO fulfill a useful purpose, mind you, but so do trash collectors. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to become one of them, if you catch my drift. At least not if your goal is to become cultured so that you have a firm grasp of what the artform is about and where it's heading, and format-specific commentators with their childish preferences and habits are simply excluding themselves from that.
So, I've already kicked things off on Insomnia with the December 2019 award. First off, all the major releases for that month have been reviewed, which is a first for the site, and what's more I think you will agree it looks gorgeous:
The styling is still under development and could certainly be improved, but just simply seeing the banners listed like this in chronological order and with the star ratings next to them takes videogame journalism and criticism to another level, I think. It puts an end to the utter chaos that prevails on all the other sites, where no one ever tries to impose some order to this chaos and where random previews and reviews are thrown at the frontpage only to quickly disappear and never be seen or discussed again. How can your site presume to speak on the game of the year when it hasn't even analyzed as much as a quarter of the games that came out that year? Of the important games even? Of course in this sheer confusion you will miss all the gems like the Factorios, the Rusts, and the PAs, and you'll end up thinking that Dragon Age: Inquisition or Overwatch are GOTYs, or even decent games at all. Meanwhile, I will already have a shortlist of the best games of the year come December, since I will have painstakingly selected 12 Games of the Month throughout the year from which to make my choice. All the analysis that will be invested towards finding those 12 games will be the groundwork on which to make the definitive, most comprehensively-researched and therefore most authoritative choice, a choice in which I will therefore be able to have some confidence on which to build further analysis in theory essays or grand narratives as seen in my Game of the Decade feature, all the while the clueless morons in all the other sites and *sigh* YouTube won't even know half of the games that exist. And that's being generous with them!
So my ultimate goal with the Game of the Month project is for Insomnia to host reviews of all major releases, and as many of the minor ones as possible... all the way back to Spacewar in 1962. And yes, I realize how crazy this sounds, but a man has to have a hobby, and this is one of mine. If I live another 30 years, I should be able to accomplish it, while at the same time keeping the frontpage up to date with every notable release from now on. And if I don't live that long... I have showed you how it's done, and hopefully others will be inspired to carry the torch after I am gone (they'll probably suck though, because I've never met a gamer so far who has the critical capacity to do a tenth of what I am doing. Just sayin'.)
P.S. It goes without saying that a Game of the Decade is also Game of the Year and Game of the Month, for the year and month of its release, just as a Game of the Year is also Game of the Month for the month of its release. So when you see only the GOTD or the GOTY banner on the frontpage, understand the inferior banners are included in them.
P.P.S. By clicking on a GOTM banner on the frontpage—those little vertical strips of 18x136 pixels next to the game's banner on the release schedule—you are sent to the Game of the Month thread for that month. It makes it easier to find those threads than by searching for them in the forum. (And if you click on a GOTY or GOTD banner, you get sent to the respective features.)
P.P.S. For those thinking that Game of the Week comes next, realize that it's not such a ridiculous idea. Famitsu is a weekly mag and they give out silver and gold awards every week if a game passes a certain scoring threshold. Not exactly Game of the Week then, since if all games score low a given week, none gets an award, but they could easily do it if they wanted. As for me, I wouldn't mind doing it, but for this award to have any meaning within the brief time window of a week I would have to receive early review code, and hire a team of reviewers who played games and reviewed them asap so that, at the end of the week, we would be able to give a decent judgement. Because, once the week passes, it becomes irrelevant which game was the best in that short timeframe. It's only relevant for a very brief period, for ultrahardcore players who consume videogame news as if their life depended on it (which was me for practically my entire youth, and most of my early adulthood), and then, once the week is out, poof, it doesn't matter anymore. So Insomnia would have to become a well-funded well-staffed publication for this to ever happen. Another possibility is if I ever launched "The icycalm Show", and played a couple hours of every game released every week. This way, the Game of the Week would not be the BEST game of the week, but it could be the game that impressed me the most during those couple of hours that I played it. This is very feasible if I every launched the show, but launching the show is a daunting, life-changing task, and I am not sure if I'll ever get there. It's always in the back of my mind though, and if the stars align at some point, I'll sure as hell try it. A more realistic option, however, which again depends on achieving adequate funding, would be to hire one or two people to do the show, and decide on the GOTW between them every week, so that I would be able to preserve my energy to focus only on the most promising games, in order to produce the deepest analyses of them. I'd let my reviewers sift the great mass of games in other words, and filter up to me only the most promising ones. That's actually what I am already doing with all those thousands of reviews I am posting on the site by hundreds of the best reviewers that are writing today (practically none of whom work for professional publications, nota bene). Then I leisurely scroll down my frontpage and pick out the best of the best that these guys are offering up to me, and I go to town on them.
Goddamn I love my site. That's what 15 years of constant effort gets you. Meanwhile the other sites are worse than the magazines I was reading 30 years ago lol. Alas, that's what technology does to people who have no clue what to do with it. It destroys them. Ask me some other day to explain to you how the standard of writing nosedived once the journalists were unleashed on the web with no restrictions on wordcount compared to print magazines. It's a tragedy which, slowly but surely, rendered all professional publications essentially undreadable. There were other factors that led to this too of course, but guess what: the other factors arose due to misuse and abuse of technology too, and I've already analyzed many of them, and will be sure to analyze the rest too by the time I am done.